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To the lady at the dog event today...

(8 Posts)
hephaestus Sun 04-Sep-11 17:20:08

...you will almost certainly not see this, of course, but it might make me feel a bit better.

I'm really sorry that the lady snapped at you and your son (who has ASD?) when you tried to get down the side of the dog agility pen, but it was for your son's own safety. There were dogs tethered on the other side of the fence who had just been doing training runs, who were in their working environment and who were therefore very het-up, excitable and unpredictable. They started barking and growling when you approached but you persisted in moving closer to them.

The lady snapped because she was worried that the boys were going to touch the dogs through the mesh (as they were trying to do) where they could easily have been bitten, as well as worried for the welfare of her own dogs who were becoming very wound up, especially when one of the boys started to make barking noises at them.

Lots of Loud Parenting ensued, "my son has a mental disability" etc. - well, all the more reason to supervise him closely as he then made several attempts at opening the gates into the pen which contained loose working dogs. When you approached me I did try to explain why she'd snapped and why it was important that the boys not enter the pen, as well as reassuring you that you were next in the queue, but you seemed quite aggressive by that point and I gave up when you started demanding to be provided with shade while waiting two minutes for a free training session. I held my tongue at the "not all disabilities are visible" rant because I have SEN myself.

I just... gah, I don't even know who is being unreasonable here. Anyway. I'm sorry you got snapped at and felt you had to defend yourself like that.

lisad123 Sun 04-Sep-11 17:40:55

Don't live in herts do you wink

unpa1dcar3r Sun 04-Sep-11 20:42:23

Oh dear Heph.
All I can say in her defence (and playing devils advocate) is that we are so used to people being judgemental and lacking in understanding for our kids that she was probably just reacting to previous bad instances. She was probably mightily stressed too!
But you're right, it was a potentially dangerous situation and could've been made worse if her kids had got to the dogs.

Triggles Sun 04-Sep-11 20:54:44

It's difficult sometimes, isn't it? I got unreasonably angry the other day because a nasty old woman was making comments and dreadful faces and grimaces because DS2 was upset in the supermarket and making noise (he was in the trolley, so he wasn't all over the place, just noisy). She was standing about 5-10 feet away and knew I could hear her, saying just awful nasty comments. It really upset me, even though another woman said something nice to me and said I should never have to explain my son's behaviour to anyone, that the woman was just awful (she also said her nephew has ASD, and her sister really struggles with this type of thing as well). I honestly couldn't cope with any stares or comments the entire rest of the day - I got really snappy and harsh about it. I had "had enough", I suppose.

Perhaps she had previous encounters and had just reached melting point?

coff33pot Sun 04-Sep-11 21:08:39

oh dear, an uncomfortable situation for all concerned I would imagine.........

Yes dangerous to go near a dog pen so a warning is sensible and perhaps when the woman got home and relaxed she will probably realise I expect that you were right.

But I expect with two boys to deal with at an event the poor woman probably had her hands full and was tired and at the end of her tether I expect. I know myself its hard work.

brandy77 Sun 04-Sep-11 22:11:21

gona keep my opinion to myself!

hephaestus Sun 04-Sep-11 23:37:10

Yes it was just a thoroughly unpleasant situation for all concerned, everybody left feeling deeply offended. The lady felt we were bullying her son ("bullying a child with a mental disability!" was overheard) which obviously upset the lady with the dogs as that was far from her intention and she would have said the same to any adult or child.

I can see how it could come to a melting point, she had three kids and a dog with her in total which can't be easy even discounting any SN. However when it came to their turn the dangerous behaviour continued - it was only the intervention of a member of staff, who worked in a SEN school and I think actually knew the family, that prevented the DS from hitting a tethered dog with a jump pole he'd picked up, as well as climbing on the equipment. Mum did not do anything to prevent this.

I don't know, the entire thing was really unpleasant, I just wish the lady could know that we were not picking on her DS because of his disability, and had perhaps approached us earlier so we could give them a time slot to prevent queueing and get another person on hand to assist.

moosemama Mon 05-Sep-11 10:24:29

I would definitely say a difficult situation all round. I used to be involved in 'dogs' before having the dcs and now have 3dcs (1 with ASD) and two dogs.

Knowing that ds1 needs constant supervision, as he just wouldn't be able to reason out the danger in a lot of situations, I'm not sure I would take all three dcs with me to an event if I was intending to compete/participate. Perhaps if there was another adult to supervise them while I took park, but it really is at least a two man job, regardless of whether or not your dcs have SNs.

I did take two of my dcs (including the one with ASD) to an event as spectators once, because they wanted to know what I used to do after seeing a video of me competing. However, I left the dogs at home and we only stayed for a short time, long enough to show them round, explain what was going on and leave before ds1 got anxious or bored.

I'm sure the lady who shouted was trying to protect both dogs and children from harm, but from experience, I know that some dog people can have a tendency to be rather sharp, if not aggressive in their manner, in situations involving their dogs and that this could have been perceived badly by a Mum who may have had to defend her child on a regular basis from judgy people. She probably read it as a disablist thing, whereas the reaction would have been the same regardless of whether the chid had a disability, invisible or otherwise.

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